A growing number of Aussie kids are being diagnosed with allergies, but new research suggests there are ways to avoid them…

Approximately 1 in 10 Australian children have a food allergy, and the instance of presentations to emergency departments due to anaphylaxis has doubled in the past two decades. While some may argue that the increased allergy rate is the result of greater awareness and advances in testing, evidence from Australia and around the world indicates that there has indeed been real growth in the number of children with various allergies.

A Lifelong Problem

An allergic reaction is caused by the production of antibodies as a response to proteins found in certain foods and the environment. The most common food allergies experienced by Australian children and adults are to cow’s milk, egg, peanut, other nuts, seafood, wheat and soy the ABC reports. Allergic eczema and hayfever are also increasingly common, particularly among those with a family history of allergies. Having a child with serious allergies is a constant source of worry for parents, particularly when their child starts school, as it is impossible to remove potential risks entirely. Even though many children outgrow their allergies, some may persist into adulthood and require lifelong management.

While there is no clear cause of this rapid rise in diagnosed allergic conditions, scientists believe there are a number of factors that could be to blame. Past advice to delay the introduction of allergenic foods is one possible hypothesis, as is lack of exposure to childhood infection, changes to food manufacturing, and dramatic changes to the environment.

Reducing The Risk

Professor Diane Campbell, chair of Paediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, says that there are a number of ways parents can reduce the risk of their child developing allergies. Introducing foods such as peanuts and eggs in the early years of your child’s life, avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke and eating a well-rounded diet are just some of the possible ways to prevent an allergy. It is hoped that further research into medications, the role of macronutrients and microbiome support will offer more options for allergy treatment and prevention in the near future.

Has your child been diagnosed with an allergy? Let us know in the comments.

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  • We’re lucky that we have no allergies in our family.

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  • No food allergies in my family.
    I think there is a raise in allergies because of the delay that some parents do to prevent a reaction. I’ve given my children food that are more allergy prone from a young age. To prevent these things and to know if they are allergic. No point of cotton wrapping today’s kids.

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  • Interesting! I wonder if it has anything to do with the old guidelines of delaying certain allergin causing foods.

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  • Thought this would give the answer to this problem.

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  • It wouldbe interesting to know why there has been such a raise? More education or more advances in technology?

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  • No allergies in my family. Well, except the dog, that is allergic to different things like barley, some plants and grass..

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  • I know a girl who has never been able to have cow’s milk at all without reaction. It triggers her asthma so badly that she has been rushed to hospital when her medications haven’t been strong enough to help her with her breathing.

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  • I think it’s on the rise because everyone was told for so long if you want to avoid food allergies wait until a certain age to introduce certain foods to kids. There has been so much chopping and changing with regards to how to avoid, reduce risk etc that I think everyone is just naturally now avoiding any potential things that can become an allergy.

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  • I really wonder why its so high in our country

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  • Interesting article, thanks

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  • Think indeed it’s important we introduce peanuts and eggs early and offer a wide group of foods early as possible.

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  • I have a chronic dermatitis which I just got and didn’t have before pretty annoying

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  • It does seem strange that allergies are on the rise. I wonder if it has more to do with the food we are eating.

    Reply

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